Catanzaro also known as the city of the two seas, is an Italian city of 96,000 inhabitants and the capital of the Calabria
Calabria , in antiquity known as Bruttium, is a region in southern Italy, south of Naples, located at the "toe" of the Italian Peninsula. The capital city of Calabria is Catanzaro....

 region and of its province.

The archbishop seat was the capital of the province of Calabria Ultra for over 200 years. It currently houses the University "Magna Græcia", the second largest University of Calabria.

Catanzaro is an urban center, with intense activity, including some coastal towns, such as Marina Sellia Soverato, and the municipalities of Silas, with a total of 156,196 inhabitants. Catanzaro is currently being consolidated to form a greater metropolitan area, by the Region of Calabria, and in connection with the town of Lamezia Terme, comprising 10 municipalities. This will lead to the creation of an integrated area which will extend from the coast to the Ionian Sea, involving over 200,000 inhabitants.

During the summer months, the Ionian coast from Catanzaro to Soverato
Soverato is a town and comune in the province of Catanzaro in the Calabria region of southern Italy.-Geography:Soverato sits on the Ionian Sea, in the Gulf of Squillace. Nearby there is a string of villages along the white beaches of the gulf like Montepaone, Davoli and Isca Marina.The Giardino...

 is an important tourist attraction, especially for the youth, and is in the presence of several important structures located in the coastal districts of the city and the town of Copanello Soverato.

Catanzaro is also known as city of the three V's, referring to the three distinct features of the city, namely San Vitaliano, the patron saint; velvet, as an important silk center since the time of the Byzantines; and wind (vento in Italian) as constantly experienced by the strong breezes from the Ionian Sea and Silas.

"VVV" was the symbol by which Catanzaro's silk industry was known by, identified for both its domestic and foreign markets, and iconic for the finest fabrication of silks, velvets, damasks and brocades from the city.


Catanzaro overlooks the Gulf of Squillace
Gulf of Squillace
The Gulf of Squillace is a body of water, an inlet of the Ionian Sea along the Calabrian coast of Italy.The gulf, renowned for its natural beauty, is part of the Ionian Sea and makes up part of the east coast of the region of Calabria...

, in the Ionian Sea
Ionian Sea
The Ionian Sea , is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea, south of the Adriatic Sea. It is bounded by southern Italy including Calabria, Sicily and the Salento peninsula to the west, southern Albania to the north, and a large number of Greek islands, including Corfu, Zante, Kephalonia, Ithaka, and...

, where according to some scholars, the port of the kingdom of Feaco is located. According to Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

, Ulysses was accepted and told his story here, specifically at Isthmus, the thinnest part of the Italian mainland. Here only 30 km separate the Ionian Sea from the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The district of Catanzaro stretches from the sea to a height of 600 meters. The historic center is located approximately 300 meters above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

. It includes a coastline on the Ionian Sea which hosts 8 km of beach and a marina. The town dates back to the valley of Fiumarella (formerly known as River Zaro). The Bishopric, St. Tryphon (or San Rocco) and St. John (or castle) marks the city's historical center and is connected to the North Sila. Due to its particular geography, the municipality gets wet from the sea, and is still subjected to a snowy winter.

Catanzaro's rivers include, the main stream of the Fiumarella (in local dialect Hjiumareddha), which joins with the river Musofalo, and the torrent Corach (formerly called Crotalo).


The climate of Catanzaro is typically Mediterranean
Mediterranean climate
A Mediterranean climate is the climate typical of most of the lands in the Mediterranean Basin, and is a particular variety of subtropical climate...

, temperate, and characterized by a windy spring and autumn.

According to the thirty-year average of 1961-1990 reference, the average temperature of the coldest month, January, came to 8.9 °C (48 °F), the hottest month, August, is 24.5 °C (76 °F).

The climate, as mentioned, is marked by the presence of wind, even high intensity, especially during spring and autumn. The annual average intensity is about 4 knots with peaks at 6 knots, The months of April and May are characterized by strong winds and the "scirocco libeccio".

The annual rainfall is around 1,000 mm and are distributed in 87 days on average, with a long summer and a minimum peak in the autumn and winter.


Certain assumptions trace the origin of Catanzaro to an ancient Greek colony, already in place, which became the land of Scolacium, believed to have been built on the ruins of the ancient city of Trischines. Other hypotheses identify Catanzaro's development to have grown from various settlements scattered in the area of Catanzaro, Marina, Tiriolo (formerly Teure), Santa Maria di Catanzaro, and on the hill Trivonà (Trischines, along the valley of Corach which formed the old "Land of Feaco"). The mouth of the river, according to legend, created the ancient Ulysses
Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....


Recently, in the district of Germaneto along the valley of Corach, a Greek necropolis of the fifth century BC, an ancient Roman settlement was found. Archaeological discoveries show that the municipality was active since the Iron Ages, flourishing with the populations of "Vitulo", so called because they worship the statue of the calf, which the Greeks renamed "Italoi" (worshipers of the calf), and governed by the famous Italian king of the same name, brother of Dardanus and ancestor of the Trojans. Italy gets its name from this figure.

According to another legend, Catanzaro was named after two Byzantine generals Cattaro and Zaro who led the coastal city of Magna Graecia Skilletion or Skillakion, corresponding to the Roman Scolacium (near Catanzaro's Marina), first on Zarapotamo (today Santa Maria di Catanzaro) and then later on Trivonà, a military fortress.

Catanzaro was always choice land due to its safe, high location, and the territory was under several group's control, including the Saracens, Normans, and Venetians
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

. The Saracens were the first to push the town's development to its highest regions by the second half of the ninth century. Byzantine general Nikephoros Phokas was responsible for the naming of the "Rock of Niceforo". Catanzaro's development into a fortress town was established by General Flagizio, who began the construction of a citadel
A citadel is a fortress for protecting a town, sometimes incorporating a castle. The term derives from the same Latin root as the word "city", civis, meaning citizen....

, which later assumed the name of Katantzárion. According to some assumptions, the name is inspired from the development of workshops for creating silk, what the Greeks call "Katartarioi" (Καταρτάριοι) (spinners of silk).

At the beginning of the tenth century (circa 903), the Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 city was occupied by the Saracens, who founded an emirate
An emirate is a political territory that is ruled by a dynastic Muslim monarch styled emir.-Etymology:Etymologically emirate or amirate is the quality, dignity, office or territorial competence of any emir ....

 and took the Arab name of قطنصار - QaTanSáar. An Arab presence is evidenced by findings at an eighth century necropolis which had items with Arabic inscriptions.

Around the year 1050, Catanzaro rebelled against Saracen dominance and returned to a brief period of Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 control again. In 1069, Catanzaro was the last city in Calabria, after many months of resistance, to fall under siege by the Normans of Robert Guiscard, who built the Norman castle, still in existence today. During this era, arts and crafts pioneered, and particularly the processing of silk, which was traded with other regions in Italy, other countries and Eastern Europe.

In the middle of the thirteenth century, Emperor Frederick II, made Catanzaro a direct possession of the crown. Later the city was the household feud of Ruffo, Caraffa and Soriano. The Normans elevated Catanzaro into a noble county, giving it to Peter Ruffo. The latter was lost in a struggle against Manfredi of Sicily, but he later returned to the city, when Charles I of Anjou  signed the peace of the War of the Vespers. For fourteen years, it was the royal domain of King Ladislaus of Naples, and in 1420 it was returned again to Nicholas Ruffo, who gave it as part of a dowry for his daughter Enrichetta who was married to Antonio Centelles. After a rebellion by the rural people, King Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso the Magnanimous KG was the King of Aragon , Valencia , Majorca, Sardinia and Corsica , and Sicily and Count of Barcelona from 1416 and King of Naples from 1442 until his death...

 took control of the city; in 1460 there was a war with the partisans of Centelles. When peace returned, the city was granted new privileges which greatly promoted the development of its silk industry, for which its damasks were known throughout Europe. From this time forward, Catanzaro firmly established itself as an import center for its textile productions.

In 1528 Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 gave authorization for Catanzaro to bear the imperial eagle attached to a coat of arms depicting the hill tops of the town.

On 23 December 1961, at the Fiumarella viaduct near Catanzaro, there was a serious rail accident
Fiumarella rail disaster
The Fiumarella rail disaster was one of the most serious incidents in the history of the Italian railways. It occurred at about 7.45 am on 23 December 1961, at the Fiumarella viaduct, near Catanzaro, in the region of Calabria, southern Italy.-History:...

, when a train derailed and fell about 40 m (131 ft) into the river below. Seventy-one passengers lost their lives on impact, and 28 others were injured to varying degrees.

In 1970 Catanzaro was designated to be the capital of Calabria.

Historical names

Catanzaro had different names, which correspond to different periods of history through the city:
  • Katantza'rion, a Greek settlement
  • Chatacium, during Roman times
  • QaTanSáar - قَطَنْصَار, Saracen period (903 - 1050 approximately)
  • Rock of Niceforo, Byzantine period
  • Cathacem, Norman period
  • Cathanzario, under the Kingdom of Naples
  • Catanzaro, under united Italy.

Main sights

  • Catanzaro Bridge, a well-known, one-arch bridge (Viaduct Morandi-Bisantis)- one of the tallest in Europe.
  • Duomo (Cathedral). Built over a Norman
    Norman architecture
    About|Romanesque architecture, primarily English|other buildings in Normandy|Architecture of Normandy.File:Durham Cathedral. Nave by James Valentine c.1890.jpg|thumb|200px|The nave of Durham Cathedral demonstrates the characteristic round arched style, though use of shallow pointed arches above the...

     cathedral built in 1121, in the 16th century it received a Renaissance façade which was however destroyed in 1638. The church was almost entirely destroyed by the bombings of 1943, and was later rebuilt.
  • Basilica
    The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

  • Church of the Santissimo Rosario (15th or 16th century), with a Renaissance façade and a single nave interior.
  • Church of Sant'Omobono (11th or 12th century).
  • Byzantine small church of Sant'Omobono (11th century).
  • Chiesa dell'Osservanza, or Santa Teresa. In the interior is the 16th century Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre and a statue of "Madonna delle Grazie" by Antonello Gagini
    Antonello Gagini
    Antonello Gagini was an Italian sculptor of the Renaissance, mainly active in Sicily and Calabria.Antonello was a member of a family of sculptors and artisans, originally from Northern Italy, but active throughout Italy, including Genoa, Florence, and Rome. The family includes his father, Domenico...

  • Remains of the Norman Castle.
  • Porta di S. Agostino and Porta di Stratò, two gates which are the last remains of the medieval walls, demolished in 1805.
  • Palazzo de' Nobili (15th century), now Town Hall.
  • Piazza Grimaldi, a town square named in honor of the House of Grimaldi
    House of Grimaldi
    The House of Grimaldi is associated with the history of the Republic of Genoa and of the Principality of Monaco.-History:The Grimaldi family descends from Grimaldo, a Genoese statesman at the time of the early Crusades. He might have been a son of Otto Canella, a consul of the Republic of Genoa in...

    , who had branches that traded heavily within Catanzaro.

Notable people

  • Renato Dulbecco
    Renato Dulbecco
    Renato Dulbecco is an Italian virologist who won a 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on reverse transcriptase. In 1973 he was awarded the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University together with Theodore Puck and Harry Eagle. Dulbecco was the recipient of the Selman A...

    : Nobel prize
    Nobel Prize
    The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

  • Mimmo Rotella
    Mimmo Rotella
    Domenico "Mimmo" Rotella, , was an Italian artist and poet best known for his works of décollage and psychogeographics, made from torn advertising posters.Rotella was born in Catanzaro, Calabria....

    : contemporary artist and inventor of the Decollage
    Décollage, in art, is the opposite of collage; instead of an image being built up of all or parts of existing images, it is created by cutting, tearing away or otherwise removing, pieces of an original image. Examples include inimage or etrécissements and excavations...



Catanzaro's current economy is mostly based on tertiary and services. Industries are mostly medium and small-size companies working within a local market.


Catanzaro is served by the SS106 Jonica state road which connects it to the A3 Highway.

In the city centre is a line with three stations. A metropolitan service (with c. 1,600,000 users per year, with 20 trains working) is provided by Ferrovie della Calabria, with a total of 11 railway stations in the city, plus others in 12 comuni of the hinterland. The rest of the public transportation system is based on 49 bus lines of AMC (Azienda per la Mobilità Catanzaro). The city counts two main railway stations: Catanzaro
Catanzaro railway station
Catanzaro, commonly known as Catanzaro Sala for the position in Sala quarter and due to the name of the adjacent FC station, is a railway station of the Italian city of Catanzaro, in Calabria region....

 and Catanzaro Lido
Catanzaro Lido railway station
Catanzaro Lido railway station is one of the railway stations serving the city and comune of Catanzaro, capital of the Calabria region, southern Italy...


External links

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